MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - The Mankato Loyola/Cleveland boys cross country team is one of the top programs in southern Minnesota with three straight appearances as a team at state.
“We definitely think we have what it takes to go again for sure,” said Jerrett Peterson, Crusader senior.
The Crusaders success as a team over the past three years is due in part to a strong senior class that features a couple of all–state athletes.
“We have Mitchell Johnstone who finished 11th at state last year, and Jerrett Peterson who finished 19th both as juniors last year. We’re looking for strong leadership from those two coming back for their senior year,” said Dale Compton, Crusader head coach.
A total of four seniors highlight this year’s squad, working together to achieve their goals.
“We can push each other whether that’s in practice or in meets, we try to get the best of each other,” said Johnstone, Crusader senior.
“Whenever we’re looking to hang out, it’s always the same group of guys, the four seniors we have here. It’s always nice to have that nice close group to run with. It helps with motivation and stuff,” said Peterson.
“This has been a great group of guys over the years, and they continue to build off the success of the previous season, then the next group comes in and picks up where they left off,” said Compton.
Two years ago, the squad finished top five in the state, and would like to return to that spot after a 12th place finish last season.
“We’d like to get back to top five, because last year, everyone seems to be really good. We’d like to get at least top five this year too. We want to stay healthy, we had a lot of injuries last year so a big goal is just to stay healthy,” said Peterson.
The quest for a fourth straight state appearance as a team begins Thursday, August 29th, as Mankato Loyola/Cleveland opens up the 2019 campaign at home.